Being Fruitful in a Time of Transition: Relationships

Matt Stauffer

I recently moved from Florida to Chicago, and my physical location isn’t the only thing that changed; I transferred cities, regions, climates, jobs, workspace, and much more. Reader Ross Black suggested we write an article about being fruitful in a time of transition, and I thought I might write the article I wished I had read before my transition.

Ross’ email was full of great questions, and I’ll answer a few here, but I’d also love for anyone with ideas to chime in in the comments.

This is a three part series:

Maintaining Old Relationships

I mentioned in the last post that I’m no expert, and I think there’s no area where that’s more true than this one. I’ve always struggled with continuing friendships when moving across the country. Again, here are a few tips that’ve helped me:

  • There’s nothing wrong with a Skype date or a phone date. If you have to call it a “meeting” for your masculinity/need for productivity to be satisfied, so be it; but if you value time with people, you need to make intentional efforts to spend time with them
  • If you’re already writing regular prayer letters, you might want to ask your friends from your old town if they want to sign up. It’s somewhat one-way communication, but I’ve found that many of my friends have responded to each of my prayer letters after I moved away.
  • Set up systems and schedules. Call a friend every Friday, or every lunch break, or on the drive or train ride into work every day. Or, become the type of person to call each of your close friends on their birthdays.

Building New Relationships

Since I’m a total schmooze, this is easier for me. Once again, a few bullet points:

  • Continue (or pick up) a hobby. Dance class, basketball, working out, chess, or whatever else you like to do (as long as it’s mildly communal) gives you chances to meet people like you, and even better, places to do it where you naturally enter conversation and already have things to talk about.
  • Join groups. Look for a church with small groups and join one. Volunteer. Join a political group.
  • Network. Do you have one friend in the city? Ask if you could hang out with them and meet some of their friends. You don’t want to just adopt all of their friends–and honestly, you probably won’t love them all–but it’s a good way to get connected and meet people.
  • Schmooze. Yes, this is natural to me, but some of my great relationships in Chicago have come from just talking to everyone I meet. I had a great conversation last week with the guy who sold us our Christmas tree. The landlord of my office is a really great guy. The first church we visited here was one I heard about from the lady who works at the sandwich shop by my office. Just step out of your comfort zone and start talking to strangers.

That’s it for this week! Do you have other suggestions or questions? Drop them in the comments!

By Matt Stauffer | Posted: Dec 23, 2011
Category: Miscellaneous, Time & Task Management | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.

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